Army Reserve Pilot Childcare Program
Some members of the Army Reserve can try out a Reserve pilot program designed to help soldiers find childcare during annual training and drill weekends. The pilot program is offered to Reservists stationed in eastern Iowa and western Missouri – so Reserve families in those areas can find child care while serving.
Childcare Issues in the Army Reserve
Reservists have long faced childcare issues when it comes to their scheduled training. Some must train in locations that don’t have enough childcare options, and Army quality of life surveys (or their equivalent) return enough complaints about a lack of childcare to take the problem seriously.
Active duty military families typically get access to on-base childcare options, which include Child Development Centers, and the Family Child Care program, also known simply as FCC.
But members of the Army Reserve may train at installations specifically designed for field exercises or live-fire drills. In these areas, typical base amenities may be minimal or nonexistent, and these troops may be forced to seek more expensive care that is farther away.
How the Army Reserve Childcare Pilot Program is Possible
This Army Reserve childcare pilot program is possible thanks to the creation of intergovernmental support agreements or IGSAs. These entities were created thanks to the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act and allow partnerships between Army installations and other entities to provide military base support services.
How the Army Reserve Pilot Program Works
Army Reservists serving in eastern Iowa or western Missouri can get help through an app provided by a civilian enterprise known as the WeeCare Company.
The mobile app pairs the Reservist with nearby care providers and is meant to do so “in real time”. The program starts small, in two locations: West Liberty, Iowa, and in Clay County, Missouri.
A press release on the Army official site notes, “Both competitively selected the WeeCare Company to assist them in providing child care services for U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers and families.”
Army press materials add that the WeeCare app features “an advanced matching algorithm that provides real-time child care availability, saving families time and eliminating paperwork and wait-lists.”
A Trend Of Improvements?
This latest move is part of a wave of efforts to improve military childcare overall. In 2023 the DoD approved a plan to let troops use flexible spending accounts for military childcare. There is also a program mentioned on the Childcare Aware Of America official; the United States Army Reserve Troop Program Unit (TPU) pilot program.
Administered by Child Care Aware of America, TPU offers no-cost, hourly childcare to support Army Reserve families. This pilot program operates on a limited basis to those serving in:
- New York
Like the Army’s pilot program in Iowa and Missouri, this is a benefit under a trial run in the designated locations. It is unclear how long either program will run or if/when it might be made permanent.
Read more: Military Childcare Basics
About the author
Editor-in-Chief Joe Wallace is a 13-year veteran of the United States Air Force and a former reporter/editor for Air Force Television News and the Pentagon Channel. His freelance work includes contract work for Motorola, VALoans.com, and Credit Karma. He is co-founder of Dim Art House in Springfield, Illinois, and spends his non-writing time as an abstract painter, independent publisher, and occasional filmmaker.